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Dec. 2nd, 2011

Goodbye (Though Not for Good!)



I didn't think I would make this decision so soon, but Livejournal's continued issues and the simple fact that I dislike maintaining two journals has forced my hand. I have decided to stop updating my Livejournal with new writing. I won't be taking my journal down, of course, and I'll still check my Friends List often (I'd miss you guys too much otherwise!). It just seems silly to constantly update two separate sites when I don't get very much traffic to this one. Therefore, I'm focusing my attention on my Wordpress site.

My new journal can be found here: www.onlyfragments.com

I wish words could express my gratitude for those of you who have continued to read my work and give me feedback/encouragement over the years. Without you I wouldn't have grown as a writer as much as I have, nor gained the confidence to display even my most private works. I do hope you'll continue to read my work despite the extra step of having to go to a new site, and please know that I'll still be following you on Livejournal faithfully. :) Thank you so, so much.

- Elyssa

Nov. 29th, 2011

(no subject)

Tanim counts. Days, hours, minutes, heartbeats. He is strangely, beautifully calm now that he has decided, comforted by the promise that the fear and sorrow will soon become meaningless. There is an exhilarating freedom in the knowledge that his suffering is temporary because he has finally taken control of his own fate. What power such a simple decision wields! Once he would have sought blessed intoxication to numb the dread of the lengthening nights, but no more. The night holds no terrors for him now. It cannot touch him, cannot hurt him, cannot break him. When the sun sets and darkness threatens to peel away all his paltry defenses, Tanim merely closes his eyes and counts. One hour gone; one minute passed; one heartbeat fewer to ever beat again. He has promised himself that soon there will be an end to these things and he can finally rest. It is the only promise that still matters. The only promise he will ever keep.

Tanim counts. Twenty-three days left. They cannot pass quickly enough.

Nov. 27th, 2011

(no subject)

There are questions we do not ask each other, out of fear or mercy or the simple understanding that some things should not be spoken of. When he trembles in the darkness I do not question what night terrors have clawed open old wounds and unburied dark memories. When he flinches from my touch I do not bid him tell me whose hands he thinks reach out to break him apart again, nor when his eyes turn from mine do I pry into what secrets he seeks to hide. These are his private burdens; if he chooses to suffer them alone I will not force him to do otherwise. And in his turn he never asks about the others, the ones before him that I knew for an hour or a night. He knows if he but demanded my history I would reveal them all: the cruel ones, the cold ones, the ones wounded and broken as myself. Surely he suspects how frequent were the mornings I woke with more hangover headache than coherent memory, longing for another drink or another pill, anything to numb myself again. Yet he does not ask and that is the sweetest kindness he could ever do me, for it would break my heart to reveal that shameful past. We may commit lies by omission but at least they are lies born from love. Some sorrows are not meant to be shared.

Nov. 25th, 2011

(no subject)

[ Roughly based on a dream I had regarding Ray Bradbury's The Halloween Tree. ]


Tom remembers Egyptian sands and Notre Dame shadows. He remembers ducking great Samhain's scythe and dodging the yellowed phalanges of grasping skeletons entombed in a Mexican catacomb. Sometimes he wakes at night to rain drumming on the window and wonders to what frozen gargoyle the water gives temporary voice. Oh, the others may not speak of that night, they may claim it was mere dreaming, but good Tom Skelton knows the truth deep in his heart. Tom remembers the House, so impossibly old, and the Tree, so impossibly tall, and the thousand times a thousand lit carved pumpkins dangling from its branches, so impossible. But most of all Tom remembers the sliver of sugar candy skull ground between his teeth and the sweet taste of death defied once but promised to come again in some far burned candle end year of his life. Tom has explored the Ravine a hundred chill autumn afternoons since that night but the House is gone, the Tree is disappeared, the grinning jack-o-lanterns are forever vanished. Yet Tom remembers. Tom Skelton, wearer of the bones, braver of the catacombs, will always remember.

Nov. 23rd, 2011

(no subject)



[ Just a reminder that I have a new journal here: http://onlyfragments.com/ ]


Silas masked a nose wrinkle of displeasure behind his usual nonchalant sneer. Humans; why did they all have to reek so terribly? Could they not still smell the animal musk poorly smothered in floral perfumes and harsh aftershaves? Being trapped in a room full of hot, sweating bodies made the vampire’s head spin and his mouth long for a cool drink of water, yet he forced himself to endure the ball with at least a modicum of propriety. He scanned the milling crowd for sight of his contact. The sooner he caught up with the dealer and had the packet safely on his person, the sooner he could get out of this human meat market and back into the cold, quiet night. It did not take long for Silas’ keen gaze to lock on his quarry across the room and he slid between the crowd with ease, joining the man in a small alcove off the main ballroom. Money changed hands smoothly and Silas slipped away again into the crowd, carefully stowing the precious packet in his waistcoat pocket.

Eyes followed him. Silas felt the familiar crawl on his back like hackles raising, the tingling adrenaline rush when prey catches wind of its stalker. He scanned the milling humans rapidly, hoping it was nothing more than some mortal girl drawn by his looks or mysterious manner, but luck was not with him tonight. A quick glance to the gallery overhead revealed the irascible Detective Rafferty. Their eyes met for a heartbeat, or at least what would have been a heartbeat had Silas’ heart done anything in the last few years but sit like a useless weight in his chest, and then both reacted. Rafferty disappeared into the crowd, no doubt hurrying for the stairs before Silas could meld back into anonymity. Silas had no intention of waiting around to see if the detective just wanted to chat or had something more sinister on his mind. The moment Rafferty moved, Silas spun and darted toward the closest exit. His escape route turned out to be through an elegant but thankfully fragile stained glass window which shattered outward in an explosion of colored glass as he crashed through headfirst. He hit the ground, rolled once, and launched to his feet again in a dead run. He thought his keen ears picked up the sound of someone yelling “stop!” but above the cries of startled guests it was hard to tell.

Silas’ first priority should have been to put as much distance between himself and the detective as possible, then double back the long way to a safe house where he could lay low until the hunt passed on. As he ran, however, the tiny paper packet in his waistcoat tapped against his skin like a firm yet patient reminder of how long he had gone since his last hit. Sheer physical proximity to the precious opiate made his mouth water and his skin, so many years unfeeling and cold, itch with a familiar nagging hunger. Withdrawal pounded like the blood no longer flowing in his veins, made him anxious and clumsy. Just one hit, that was all he needed. Surely he had time. If he only found a safe spot and a light he could breathe in a few delicious lungfuls and be on his way again. Just a few moments. Just a single flame.

But he did not have a flame. As he darted down alleys and up slippery stairwells, Silas cursed himself for such poor preparation. A light. A light. Who would have a light? His mind went immediately to his own kind – druggies, not vampires. At the next alley junction he took an abrupt right, heading toward the crowded slums scattered in the older, dilapidated portion of the city. Despite hearing no sounds of pursuit, Silas never slowed his speed; he knew Rafferty was close on his trail like a dammed bloodhound and would hunt him as relentlessly.

Silas burst into the slum district and pounced on the first likely looking candidate, a strung out student whose glazed eyes suggested he had recently partaken of the sort of illegal substance for which the vampire hungered. “Where is it?” he demanded as he riffled through the user's clothing. The student, for his part, only blinked dully. “You've got to have one somewhere. Come on, come on, come on!” His fingers closed around a small metal box. “Aha!” He retrieved the silver lighter and leaned back, fumbling for the packet in his pocket with trembling, eager hands. If he had had more time Silas would have done this right, folding a small pinch of the crumbled leaves in thin paper and savoring the slow inhale of acrid smoke. Withdrawal made him rush, though, and he held the lighter up to one corner of the packet intending to light it, curb the craving with a quick drag, and stub the fire out again. Licking his lips expectantly, Silas struck at the lighter. Nothing happened. “You bastard!” He struck it again, again, again, but each time he earned nothing more than a pathetic spark. “Dammit, come on, just one fucking flame!”

“I think you're empty, Silas,” A heavy hand fell on his shoulder in a mock commiserating squeeze. Silas twitched, wincing at the familiar voice, and abandoned his futile effort to summon a flame. “Oh, Detective Rafferty. Were you looking for me?” He tried to force an innocent smile but the vice-like grip on his shoulder twisted it into a grimace of pain. Not for the first time, Silas wondered if perhaps he should finally get clean...
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Nov. 21st, 2011

(no subject)



Since so many stories take place in Tanim’s apartment, I want to provide a basic description of its layout and features. Bear with me; I don’t have much experience with décor lingo.

Apartment Layout: The apartment is a two bedroom, two bathroom penthouse in an old yet very expensive apartment complex. The front door opens onto a spacious hexagonal main room with vaulted ceilings comprised of the living room, dining area, and kitchen. Right and forward of the entryway is the dining area. To the immediate left is the open kitchen. Perpendicular to the kitchen is a long, wide hallway. Past the hallway opening is the first wall of the living room, which connects to the second and third to create a half hexagonal wall. This wall then connects back to the dining alcove and to the entryway again. Down the hallway are six doors. The first door on the right is the master bedroom; the second door on the right is the master bathroom; the first door on the left is the second bathroom; the second door on the left is a hall closet; the third door on the left is the second bedroom; the door at the end of the hallway is a large linen closet. The apartment comes fully furnished with matching mahogany furniture.

Kitchen: The kitchen is open to the rest of the room, cut off only by an island which extends half the length of the kitchen. The floor of the kitchen and entryway is a granite tile flecked with garnet to match the brickwork in the living room. The counter tops are likewise granite with a red tile back-splash flecked with mica. The cabinets are cherry wood with brushed silver handles; the sink is brushed silver as well. The appliances are either black or stainless steel, each in arguably brand new condition due to little use. There are no windows along the kitchen wall.

Dining area: The dining area is also open to the room, only differentiated from the living room by a mahogany dining table with four matching chairs.

Living room: The living room dominates the apartment by sheer size alone. It takes up half the main room and is sunken two steps below the rest of the room. Along its left-hand wall is a large electric fireplace. The next two walls are entirely formed by bay windows reaching from floor to ceiling, broken every fifteen feet by brick pillars, and overlook a gorgeous and unobstructed view of the city. These walls form the half hexagon shape which connects to the dining area. In the corner connecting the two right-most walls is a free standing mahogany home bar facing into the living room. The carpet throughout the living room and rest of the apartment is thick, a pristine cream color to set off the red of the brick, and the wall color is a pale amber. The only furniture in the living room besides the bar is a mahogany coffee table and a large L-shaped deep red suede couch. The long side of the couch faces the main wall of windows and coffee table while its perpendicular side faces the fireplace.

Master bedroom: The master bedroom is a darker shade of the same amber paint set against the cream carpet. The right hand wall contains a walk-in closet lined in brick, as it backs up against the fireplace on the other side of the wall. The far wall of the bedroom features French doors which open onto a small and rarely used balcony. Along the left-hand wall is the door leading into the master bathroom. Like the living room, the bedroom is sparsely furnished with a mahogany dresser, mahogany wardrobe, one small cushioned chair, and a mahogany king bed with its headboard against the left hand wall flanked on both sides by matching side tables.

Master bathroom: The master bath can be accessed either through the bedroom or the hallway. Its tile is pale with flecks of garnet red, as is the granite counter top. The sink faucet and handles are brushed silver. From the bedroom doorway the sink and toilet are along the far wall, the bathtub along the right-hand wall and the hallway door along the left-hand wall. Between the toilet and bathtub is a door which opens onto a linen closet. The bathtub easily fits two and is sunken into a tile ledge. Above the sink is a mahogany framed medicine cabinet/mirror.

Second bedroom: The second bedroom functions as a study and library. It matches the master bedroom in color, though the closet and window are smaller. The walls are lined with mahogany bookshelves and a matching desk sits in the nearest right-hand corner. Along the far wall are two dark brown leather chairs with a mahogany end table between them.

Second bathroom: The second bath is a miniature version of the first in color and style, though it has a frosted glass walled shower instead of a bathtub and no window.


And now you know why Daren doesn't mind getting kicked out of his shitty basement apartment and having to move in with Tanim.

Nov. 19th, 2011

(no subject)



I don't want to write this story; it makes me so heartsick I can barely breathe. The moment is all wrong. Tanim should be the one yelling and weeping, not Daren. It should be Daren's patient voice coaxing logic and calm, not Tanim's. But tonight is different and for once Tanim remains dry eyed. He tries futilely to once again explain something Daren has never understood and never will: how frightening it is not to be able to control your own body, your baser hungers, your perverted lusts; how only the drugs and the drink mute the ravenous beast inside enough to sink into blessed darkness for a few hours, and how you despair knowing the morning will still come, that tomorrow you'll have to go through the motions again, and the next day, and the next. He can't bear to see the next sunrise. He can't wade through one more torturous day. Even when Daren yells and begs, argues and forbids, Tanim's choice is set. It breaks his heart now to weather the young man's misery but soon it won't matter to him at all. Nothing will. Tomorrow Daren will wake to the bright, cruel morning, will have to somehow while away the meaningless hours as he nurses this terrible loss, this unforgivable betrayal, but Tanim won't. Tanim won't ever have to face the morning again. And this moment hurts me to imagine, sickens me to write, chokes my throat and burns my eyes. I don't want to dwell on it. I don't want to relive Tanim's crushing depression, the crippling self-loathing which drove him to this end, nor Daren's helplessness as the life he's so desperately struggled to save slips out of his grasp. Yet like a broken record the story keeps replaying and there's nothing I can do but listen to Daren's sobbing until I'm ill with his grief.

Nov. 17th, 2011

(no subject)



[ I'm not gonna lie; this is 100% inspired by Tate from American Horror Story and his fantasy about shooting up his high school. Speaking of which, I would give anything to see Daren with Dia de los Muertos makeup on his face. ]


Oh darling, don't you see? They will never accept you. This world's so cruel, so cold, so callous. People like you don't stand a chance. You're beaten bloody and strung up as examples for the rest of us to never deviate from the norm. You're the sacrificial lambs so we all remain dumb, quiet little sheep. I want to protect you from that terrible fate, my love, my dearest, but there's only so much I can do. I can't punish them all; there aren't enough bullets for everyone who will hurt you. But one bullet can protect you forever. Just one bullet can take you far away from the reach of those who condemn you. Do you understand? This is how I can keep you safe. This is how I can prove my love. I won't let them ruin your beauty, twist and torture you until you're just as much a monster as they. One bullet can preserve your innocence forever. Do you understand? Everything will be okay now. I'll keep you safe, beloved. Just close your eyes.


Nov. 15th, 2011

(no subject)



[ Announcement: I now have my own site for writing: http://onlyfragments.com/ I will still be updating and checking my LJ regularly, but when linking or directing people to my writing, it will be to my Wordpress blog instead. ]


Silk had to hand it to the woman; her coat may be ridiculous, but at least it was currently doing a pretty good job of soaking up her blood. That would save him some cleanup time, at least. He stepped over the motionless figure sprawled across the front step and glanced about. It had turned out to be a pretty nice day, all things considered, sunlight shining peacefully through the red-gold trees which lined the mansion's long drive and warming his face with a rare autumn heat. Still, the man frowned. He hated to tear up the manicured lawn or painstakingly tended rose beds but they were running out of places to bury the bodies. The front lawn was too conspicuous, the earth out back by the gardener's shed already full. He could perhaps try down by the koi pond but that was such a long walk...

“Good morning, sir! Beautiful day, isn't it?” Wrapped up in his current dilemma, Silk hadn't even noticed the gentleman wandering up the drive. He narrowed his eyes as he watched the stranger approach, one hand resting lightly on the gun hidden inside his jacket. The man wore a cheap blue suit and carried a large briefcase under one arm. He was in his early fifties, easy, thinning hair more gray than brown. Not exactly a threat, but Silk took no chances. He was paid very well and with good reason.

Finally the man made it to the house. He stopped on the walk and flashed a wide, folksy smile, apparently oblivious to the dead woman laying on the flagstone. When Silk said nothing in greeting he went ahead and continued, “Yes, a fine day indeed! And a gorgeous, I say an absolutely gorgeous house you have here! You're obviously a man with fine tastes. I have in this case a fabulous opportunity I know one such as yourself is too smart to pass up. For just a limited time only, you see, my employers at Hartford Fine Crystal are offering unbelievable discounts on all crystal dining sets, including--”

“I killed a woman,” It seemed to take the salesman a moment to even notice Silk had spoken. That happened often, though. His voice was very soft and he rarely bothered with inflection. He watched the words dawn in the man's mind, understanding slowly making its way to his face as he glanced down to the body sprawled at Silk's feet. “...oh,” the man managed. Then, “are you going to kill me too?” Silk tipped his head back, basking in the warm sunshine for a moment before he fixed his attention back on the problem at hand. “No,” he decided, a surprise to them both. “I'll give you one minute to walk down that driveway and never look back.” The man gaped at him. “You're not?” Silk gave a bare shrug. “I'm feeling magnanimous today.” The salesman stared at the dead woman for a second, then shifted the case from one hand to the other and managed a pretty good imitation of his earlier smile. “Well, sir, I'll give you my card and if you ever want a discount on fine crystal products just--”

Now the gun was out, balanced with deceptive ease in Silk's capable hand. “You've now wasted thirty seconds trying to sell me your cheap shit.” Silk believed it uncouth to curse but the salesman's babbling grated on him. The man paled and shut up immediately at the sight of the weapon pointed at his rotund stomach. He might have turned tale and ran just then if they hadn't been interrupted by the easy-going chatter of a group of well dressed young men making their way around the corner of the house. Silk swore again, this time with rare passion. His employer would be quite unhappy if these particular guests discovered the murdered woman. As irritating as his employer had found her, his friends had taken some delight in her nosy ways and would already be sorry to hear she had gone missing. If he hadn't let himself become distracted by this damned salesman...

“Look here,” Silk yanked the man close by his collar, vanishing the gun back to its hiding place. “You play along now or I swear your end won't be nearly as quick as hers.” Then as the group rounded the bend he shoved the salesman back, one hand still gripping his collar and the other a vice around his arm. “Get the fuck out of here, you sorry sack of crap,” he snarled, loud enough to grab the others' full attention. “If I catch you trying to sell that shit on these premises again, I'll beat you black and blue.” Not terribly clever but the threat seemed to do the trick. This time the salesman caught on immediately and made a great show of stumbling along before Silk, struggling against the hit man's iron grip while he babbled terrified apologies. “Shut the fuck up and just keep walking!” Silk growled, sparing a quick glance to their audience. His employer's colleagues had paused momentarily to watch the altercation but now that the show seemed more or less over, they were moving on across the path toward the twelve car garage. None seemed to have noticed the body; their eyes lingered on Silk and the profusely apologizing salesman the entire way. Once they disappeared around the corner of the mansion Silk gave the salesman one last disgusted shove and speared him with a glare that sent the man scurrying toward the road.

Finally alone again, Silk turned back to his original dilemma. He nudged the dead woman with one foot as he contemplated his options, grimacing at the thought of having to drag her to a suitable burial spot. Ah, well. Koi pond it was.

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Nov. 13th, 2011

(no subject)



I know what they're thinking when they stare at me. “What good have you done?” they wonder, sneering at my weakness, disgusted by my sickness. “What worth are you?”

'What worth am I?' I want to cry. 'What good have I done? I've stayed up nights with him while he wept. I've talked him back from the darkness, held him until the riptide of self-loathing ebbed, leaving him shaken and empty. I’ve remained at his side when he otherwise would have faced his demons alone. And I’ve battled those demons myself, just for him, always for him. Did you do that? Were you there when he touched his hand to his throat and said 'I'm afraid to be alone; I don’t know what I’ll do to myself'? No. No, you never saw how close he was, how easily he could fall over the edge. It was I who stood by him. It was I who protected him from himself. What worth am I? I’m worth every morning he reaches after the impossible night. I’m worth every next breath and heartbeat. I’m worth his life.”

They don't know these things, though, and I will never speak those words. It isn’t my place to reveal his secrets. If he wishes to bear his burdens in silence then I'll bear them with him. In the end it's his choice, for better or worse. No matter what happens, I'll be at his side. He has me if nothing else. Whatever good I can do is all for him, only for him, but they'll never understand that and I'll never be worth anything in their eyes.


Nov. 11th, 2011

(no subject)


I don't know if there's a God but sometimes I want so desperately to believe He exists. Not a kind and loving God, nor a cruel and wrathful one. A fair God; a just God. A God who will strip me of these unnecessary fetters, cloth and flesh and muscle, and judge the essence of the soul beneath. I don't trust a mere mortal mind to weigh the burdens of my heart without bias. Mercy and bigotry are equally poisonous to truth; how can I believe what anyone says when humanity is so fallible, so prone to lies and self-deception? I'm not fool enough to trust another, not arrogant enough to trust myself. But a God, a being utterly without fault or machination, might peer into my depths and deliver honest judgment. Am I the selfless martyr others claim me to be? Or am I the monster which stares back at me from the mirror, the beast which twists beneath my skin and hungers for depravity? I must know. If there is a God, I pray His scalpel is sharp for dissection.



Nov. 9th, 2011

(no subject)



“Carpal Tunnel”

fingers cramp and ache
numbness crawling along nerves
sinking into bones
a slow creep from hand to heart
insidious apathy

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Nov. 7th, 2011

(no subject)



They say you're born this way, that it's not a sickness, not a fault, just part of who you are. Something natural and beautiful. But they aren't the ones who have to live with it; they aren't the ones who were never given a choice. How can they possibly understand what it's like to desire something so perverse, so filthy? How dare they act as if this hunger is something to be proud of? They don't wash the thirst for sweat and semen away with alcohol and sleeping pills. They don't wake from nightmare fantasies, or fantasy nightmares, weeping with the repulsive longing to submit, to succumb, to surrender. They don't have to live with the beast.

It's a cruel joke to tell me I was born like this. Why me? What did I ever do to deserve imprisonment in my own traitorous flesh? I don't care if they want me to embrace my disease, accept it as part and parcel of who I'm meant to be. I can't. I won't. I have to believe this is something that can be fixed. If it's a taint in my blood then I'll bleed myself dry. If it's a corruption in my heart then I'll cut the damned thing out. I'll do anything, even if it means taking my own life, to destroy the monster I've become. I can't be this man anymore.


Nov. 5th, 2011

(no subject)



Tanim edged up the darkened stairwell, the wooden steps polished to a dangerous sheen by hundreds of years of passing feet. At the top of the stairs he stopped and drew in a slow, calming breath, allowed himself a moment to gather his thoughts. No sense going in with his nerves already wound tight; he needed to remain clear headed or he wouldn't be able to trust his own experiences tonight. He didn't want anyone to refute his conclusions based solely on human fallibility.

The gory legend surrounding the Hanged Man Inn began, or perhaps ended, with the suicide of the Reverend Aaron Smith in the late 1700s. An investigation launched upon discovery of his body hanging from the rafters of the Blackbird Inn revealed Smith as the perpetrator of a total of thirteen murders over half as many years. The reverend's private journal, found hidden beneath a parish floorboard, uncovered a sordid tale of illicit affairs with young men conducted at the very inn where he had taken his life. Smith believed these men to be incubi sent by the Devil to tempt him to a life of sin and so destroyed them all as they wore out welcome or allure, each killing more horrific than the last. It was now popular belief that the ghosts of his victims haunted the inn, trapped at the place of their bloody demise. Thousands of paranormal enthusiasts flocked to the inn each year, hands clutching reprinted copies of Smith's diary and suitcases full of investigative equipment. Tanim doubted most of the stories of incoherent screaming, headless specters, and invisible attacks were true, of course, but couldn't pass up the opportunity to prove that first hand.

Raising his digital voice recorder, habitually double checking the full battery life left in the device as he did, Tanim moved down the hallway. He trailed his free hand along the wall, counting each closed doorway as he passed by. He would return to these rooms later to take EVP recordings but his eagerness drove him to start at the heart of the haunting: the attic where Smith had ended so many lives, including his own. The current owners of the inn had transformed the attic room into a single suite reserved for those whose desire to stay a night in death's chambers knew no monetary limit. Tanim spared a moment at the door for an appropriately dramatic pause, then crept inside. Moonlight filtered through rippled windows illuminated reproduction furniture and lovingly laundered white lace linen. The room looked nothing like it had when the reverend lured his victims to their deaths, of course, but the period décor still made one feel as if Smith's victims might appear at any moment, alive and unaware of their impending doom.

“Is anyone in here? Can you hear me? Can you answer me?” Tanim left a long pause between each question, allowing time for the recorder to pick up sounds outside his own hearing range, and tried not to feel too silly carrying on a one sided conversation. “If there is someone in this room with me, please say something. Say anything.”

Silence. Of course. No investigator had ever recovered anything more from an EVP session at the Hanging Man than the sound of settling old wood and winter wind whistling beneath window cracks. Not exactly the stuff of horror movies. Tanim snorted and turned back to the door.

“Daren--”

He recognized the phantom on sight. The reverend's diary described this particular young man in almost lurid detail, whole pages devoted to his angelic features, his piercing black eyes, the taste of his sweat and the heat of his flesh. Tanim hadn't been able to read those passages through in one sitting, physically sickened by the reverend's perverse obsession and violent fantasies. By the time authorities had found Daren's body buried in the forest behind the parish, all that could be determined was that his jaw had been broken, his spine snapped, and his body dismembered; the more gruesome ghost tales preferred to presume the poor boy had been alive throughout. Of course, the lingering fragment standing before Tanim betrayed nothing of his horrific end. Neither blood nor bruises marred skin so pale it shone silver blue in the moonlight. The dark, flat eyes which stared back showed no rage or sorrow, fear or helplessness. Nothing remotely human at all, in fact, which somehow unnerved Tanim more than anything else about this moment.

Tanim swallowed, suddenly at a loss for what to do, to say, to think. He wanted to ask a thousand questions but each one died on his heavy tongue and he only managed to choke out, “you were his first...” Pale lips moved as if in reply but no sound emerged from the specter and as quickly as he had appeared, Daren vanished. Tanim rushed to review the EVP, desperate to discover what the lingering spirit had said, only to find his recorder's batteries drained and useless.

Nov. 3rd, 2011

(no subject)



“Do you know how many times I've died?” A long drag on the cigarette can't mask the trembling of his hand, nor the acrid smoke disguise the sneer twisting his mouth. “How many times I've been torn to pieces? Beaten? Burned? Raped?” He draws again on the cigarette. The embers spark a brief light in his eyes but fail to warm his frozen gaze. “I can't remember which moments are real and which are nightmares or hallucinations; everything's muddled by fever and fear. Maybe some of those delusions are even sick fantasies. Maybe after thirty years of madness not only have I lost my memory, but I've lost the ability to discern between desire and revulsion as well.” He laughs as if amused by the notion of his own corruption. “I guess suffering makes masochists of us all, huh?”

There's no comfort I can offer that he would accept. What must it be like not to be able to trust your own memories? To question every experience and sensation because you have no anchor to keep you steady, no grip on reality? It's little wonder he believes himself a psychopath. All he's ever known is the sickness, the fever nightmares, the drift between unconsciousness and waking hell. No man could suffer such torture with his sanity completely intact.

“Sometimes I wonder if I'll wake up and find you're just a delusion like all the rest,” The cigarette burns forgotten in his hand as he stares into some future I can't share. “I think I'll open my eyes one morning and be back in that shit hole apartment, laying in a pool of my own bloody vomit. You'll have been nothing but a fever dream; nothing but a desperate fabrication of my damaged mind. Wouldn't that be ironic? The one time I actually want the lie to be the truth?” His gaze slides over, holds mine, and the disassociation in his eyes sends a crawl of unease up my spine. A part of him believes this hypothesis. He holds me forever at arm's length so when I do finally disappear, it won't hurt. He doesn't expect me to stay. Even when he's staring straight at me he doesn't really believe I'm here. I'm just another insubstantial phantom in a lifetime of terror and loss.

Nov. 1st, 2011

(no subject)



My poor lover is so thin skinned, so quick to bruise and bleed. Words cut him to the bone and leave wounds which tear open again at the slightest provocation. He doesn't have the armor of apathy and disdain that I do. Where I can turn my back on the hurled insults, the cruel whispers and spiteful glares, each one lands a fresh blow on his unprotected flesh. He breaks beneath their loathing like a sapling stripped and battered in a storm. I wish just once he would turn his fear and sorrow to fury and hatred instead. Anger would cleanse him, burn away infected, necrotic flesh and speed the healing. I want him to fight back, to spit his blood in their faces and laugh when they flinch away from the taint. We can't change the world but we can sure as hell bear our battle scars with pride. If he would just embrace the rage, learn to strike out instead of backing down, he'd never spare a tear for their slurs or condemnation again.

Oct. 30th, 2011

(no subject)



“Don't do it,”

“What?”

“Check the time,” Tanim glanced up from the stack of paperwork spread across the desk between them just as Daren began to roll his shirt cuff back to uncover his watch. “It'll only depress you.” The warning came too late, however, and the younger man groaned theatrically. “Oh, fuck me. You've got to be kidding. And here I was foolish enough to hope I might actually get to sleep tonight... might as well set up a cot in my fucking office.” He rubbed at his face, massaging pounding temples that ached for another pot of coffee. “Why are we the only ones stuck at the office on a miserable Monday night, anyway? Where's Jonathan? Or Mark? Why aren't they slaving over this deadline with us?”

Tanim offered a helpless shrug and leaned back in his chair, raking stray hair off his forehead. “Jon is home with his new baby. She has colic or something; his wife's been throwing a fit that he isn't home in time to help her out. And tonight is Mark's anniversary. Family comes first, at least if you have colleagues to sucker into taking on your part of the project.”

“Suckers indeed. We're god damned martyrs if you ask me,” Daren folded his arms with a huff. Clearly sick children and romantic celebrations rated low on his list of reasons to skip work, especially if your friends suffered the consequences of your absence. “But if it's all about family togetherness, why are you still here? You've got a wife waiting at home, too, but you always stay late. Do you just have more mercy on poor singles like me than our fellows do?”

Daren expected a sardonic reply from his companion, not the strange flicker of emotion which passed over Tanim's weary features instead, an uncharacteristically vulnerable mixture of sorrow and denied desire. “I'd hurry home if I had someone like you to come back to,” Tanim replied after an awkward silence, voice strained and gaze averted as if to hide the truth of his admission.

And then he could not turn away at all. Daren's fingers were tilting back his jaw, warm mouth covering his own in a kiss begun gently but soon drawing him in with possessive, needy force. Tanim surrendered to the man's hunger without thought or hesitation, a low moan rising and dying in the back of his throat as slim fingers fisted his hair. Only the eventual need for breath forced their lips apart, and Daren lowered his hand with obvious reluctance as he pulled away. “Damn,” he muttered around a resigned exhale, pained smile twitching at the corners of his freed mouth. “I was hoping that would suck.”

“Sorry,” Tanim ran tongue over teeth, savoring Daren's taste, a grimaced grin dragging at his own lips. “It was pretty good, wasn't it.”

“You're not making this any easier, you know,” Daren retreated behind the desk as if its bulk might prevent another monumental lapse of judgment. His eyes fell to Tanim's hand upon the polished surface; light from the single desk lamp gleamed mockingly off the golden wedding ring. Tanim followed the line of his gaze and quickly drew his arm back as he realized what caught Daren's attention, twisting the burdensome band back and forth in his lap in nervous habit. The silence between them stretched out, grew oppressive and uncomfortable as they stared anywhere but at each other.

“So, uh,” Tanim tried to clear his throat of its sudden choking lump and shuffled awkwardly through scattered papers in an attempt to turn both their minds to a safer topic. “Where were we?” Grateful for the proffered escape, no matter how thinly veiled, Daren slid back into his chair and tried to focus on the meaningless task at hand. “Here, last quarter's report.” As he slid the file across the desk he caught sight of his watch and groaned. “Ugh, at this rate we'll never get out of here...”

Oct. 28th, 2011

(no subject)



You dare threaten us with the gallows? With the lash and the pyre? Don't make me laugh. We aren't afraid of any punishment or death you could meter out. Justice and fairness are a load of bullshit anyway; faith and hope are useless comforts. We expect nothing less. It's truth that will protect us in the end. Even suffocating on our own blood, we'll still know we were right. No amount of suffering can take that away. Death is such a paltry sacrifice compared to the certainty of our conscience and the strength of our conviction. So go ahead, do your worst. We're not afraid. Physical pain is only temporary. What binds us together cannot be severed by blade nor charred by flame. It will endure long after we are gone.

Oct. 26th, 2011

(no subject)



“Prism”

like light refracted
so emotions are diffused
a rainbow scatter
grief and rage, loathing and spite
the hues of unhappiness

Tags:

Oct. 24th, 2011

(no subject)



“I would throw it all away for you,” he swears, casting his hand out to encompass not this dingy motel room but all the unseen world passing us by beyond its walls: home and family, wealth and security, decadence and influence anyone would envy. Yet even as he gestures the ring glitters on his finger, bright and meaningless as his words. In that other world he may wield power but here he is as helpless as a slave, and this single golden band is a painfully poetic symbol of the futility of our situation. His offer is sweet, a wonderful dream even I can't deny I long for, but impossible. We can never be those men. We can never share that life. I wish he would not cling to this foolish hope so fervently; it will only make our eventual separation all the more heartbreaking. Aren't we in enough pain already?

“If you just asked, I would give everything up,” he professes, but I never will. I refuse to be the catalyst for his self-destruction. Why can't he see that we will never have the life together he imagines? He would destroy himself for me and gain nothing but grief and ostracism. This is no fairy tale; he is no prince who can cast off his crown and marry whatever muddy blooded commoner he likes. There's a ring on his finger and a woman who waits for his return. He has a family. He has a career. He has responsibilities and burdens and a path he must walk whether he chose it or not. I won't be the reason he abandons that life for one of humiliation and struggle. We were never meant to share anything but these brief, stolen moments. In another world, maybe, or another story, but not this one.

Oct. 22nd, 2011

(no subject)



“Direct Injection”

I self medicate
heroin hymns, morphine myths
LSD legends
a temporary escape
worth the heartache of withdrawal

Oct. 20th, 2011

(no subject)



Angel of disease, let me sicken with you. Infect me with your poison blood and we'll share fever, fear, and fate. One taste is all it would take, darling. Contaminate me and we can be the same. It'll be just you and me against the darkness. Don't you want that?

Angel of demise, let me perish with you. Our hearts will labor in unison as we draw our final breaths. In and out, beloved, one last time. Just like that. We'll be free of the pain, free of the heartache. Together in death as in life. Don't you want that?

Angel of decay, let me rot with you. My body has no worth if you'll never touch it again, never bless me with your lips or fingers. So let our flesh putrefy and melt from our bones. We'll become one in the earth; united, inseparable, eternal. Don't you want that?


Oct. 18th, 2011

(no subject)



no words tonight. tonight raw wounds. tonight choking lungs and burning eyes. tonight jealousy like acid bile, a film of blood on lips bitten to silence. jealousy of those free to touch, to give and take, who need not fear condemnation or persecution. jealousy of the blessed, those with time and possibility to love, heal, grow. no such happy ending for these two. no safety or solace, this embrace a paltry comfort too easily taken away. sick with envy. sick with misery. sick with the inevitability of tragedy played a thousand times and again, again, again. not fair. throats choke with the words unspoken, useless tonight. tonight nothing but jealousy and anger and heartache. tonight nothing but inadequacy and fear. tonight nothing but grief.

Oct. 16th, 2011

(no subject)



So we're deviants, huh? Perverts? Freaks? Well, I wouldn't want to disappoint, so let's give them a show they'll remember. Kiss me bloody, baby; bruise me black and blue. Run me ragged, rake me raw. If they want monsters then we'll be their fucking monsters. They may sneer and spit on us, but what does a little more dirt matter? It feels so good to be so bad. Tear me open, darling, break me down. Let's show them what it's like to embrace the beast.

Oct. 14th, 2011

(no subject)



Oh the well is deep
and the well is dark
and I cannot escape

I knew the words once
the language of the heavens
I knew the way once
to walk upon the moonlight
and drink the stars from the sky

Yet the well is deep
and the well is dark
and I cannot escape

I knew the words once
but now my voice is silent
I knew the way once
but now the stars are too far
and I am always empty

For the well is deep
and the well is dark
and I cannot escape

Oct. 12th, 2011

(no subject)



He raises one hand in brief signal to the bartender to refill his empty glass. He's drunk, head buzzing and cheeks flushed, but not yet nearly drunk enough. The anger sharpens his thoughts, making it impossible to lose himself completely in the burning alcohol. Another drink, then, and another after that if necessary. He has all the time in the world.

“Hello, stranger,”

Tanim's flesh crawls as a purring voice in his ear disturbs his morose self-medication. At the sound his fingers unwillingly recall sweat beaded silken skin, his tongue the taste of whiskey and saliva and cigarettes. He buys time to steel his nerves by taking a slow, deliberate sip of freshly poured bourbon before turning to the newcomer lounging on on the bar stool beside him. “Alex,” he nods, cold but polite. “It's been a while.”

“Too long,” Perfectly sculpted lips peel back in a charming white toothed grin, a single golden eyebrow likewise lifting in a graceful arc. The motion seems effortless but Tanim knows slick Alexander's every movement is painstakingly choreographed. “I thought you'd vanished, or perhaps gotten bored with me. It's absolutely wonderful to see you again, Tanim. I've so missed our late night... conversations.”

Conversations. Right. Tanim shifts his gaze back to the glass clenched between his fingers, avoiding the other's dazzling blue eyes. “I've been busy,” he answers simply, and in any other mood might have chuckled at the understatement. Since last he encountered Alexander he has nearly destroyed himself with drugs and alcohol, met a man as irrevocably damaged as himself, fallen in love with this man despite their seemingly endless irreconcilable differences, and now perhaps lost him to the stubborn pride which has them so often at each other's throats. Busy indeed.

“Not working yourself too hard, I hope,” Alexander shifts on his seat, stretching out one long leg so his knee brushes lightly against Tanim's. “You seem in low spirits tonight, dear. Something troubling you?” The older man, drunk as he may be, isn't fooled enough to think the contact an accident, nor does he believe the concern in Alexander's voice for a moment. Once the simple touch would have fueled a rush of desire, shameful yet undeniable, but this arrogant young predator no longer holds sway over him.

“The years haven't been kind,” For one of them, at least. Too willful now to surrender to Alexander's siren like spell, Tanim is free to admire his one time lover out the corner of his eye without fear of falling for those gorgeous looks once again. Has the man aged at all? His face is still that of a Greek statue, carven angelic features framed by curls bright as polished gold. He hasn't aged, no, and hasn't learned any new tricks either, it seems. Alex still believes himself the dominant hunter here, Tanim the wounded prey who may be herded and cornered with ease. How beautifully naive.

“I'm sorry to hear that,” Alexander imitates a concerned frown, though the emotion never reaches his covetous eyes. “Are you... busy now? Perhaps I can distract you from your woes. It wouldn't be the first time.” Tanim glances down to where Alexander's long fingers glide slowly over his knee, up his thigh. He shouldn't even consider this. He isn't this spiteful, vindictive man. He should just let go of the anger, down another glass of sweet inebriation, and stumble home where he belongs. But why? Daren isn't there. Daren is off sulking somewhere alone, as he sulks here, so why should Tanim be the first to come crawling back? Why should he play the martyr and subject himself to another barrage of Daren's insults? He has nothing to apologize for. His lover spoke cruelly, tore open old wounds and fought dirty like the coward he is. Surely Tanim can't be blamed for defending himself with his own well placed verbal assault. It'd serve Daren right to worry over his absence for the night, to lay awake imagining whose arms his partner sought comfort and pleasure in. Maybe he'd learn a little humility, or at least appreciation.

Tanim grazes his fingers over the back of Alexander's warm hand as he seeks his companion's eyes. “Not presently,” he murmurs, leaning close so his words brush over the younger man's ear. “And I certainly could use a distraction tonight.”

“How lucky for me,” Alexander wets his lips like a triumphant fox standing over its kill. He believes he's won this game of seduction, and Tanim must smother his disdain at such oblivious arrogance by flashing an intimate smirk of his own.

“Lucky indeed,”

He will never own Daren, yet he will possess something tonight: this incubus who held sway over him once but who plays the puppet now for Tanim's hunger, his anger, his need to inflict pain on another living thing to smother his own misery. This time Tanim doesn't dance to Alexander's piper tune and when they rise it isn't Alexander who leads the way to a more private setting. Tanim's iron grip around his wrist is a threatening promise of things to come.

Oct. 10th, 2011

(no subject)



If you own something long enough, sooner or later you become possessive of it, covetous, even selfish. You would bind and cripple this thing before relinquishing it to another. It's beautiful, this baser greed, this primal longing to claim and keep forever. I never thought I would experience such desire until he surrendered himself to me. His body has become my instrument, my most precious possession. I am owner of these lips that part in wordless moaning and protector of the elegant fingers which clench to draw us together. My mouth waters with the flavor of his flushed skin, his heartbeat an eager pulse beneath my tongue. He is mine. Mine to take, mine to use, mine in all ways. I brand him with my fingerprints, mark him as my own with sweat and saliva and semen, myself forever a part of him as he is forever a part of me. Once I could not fathom such possessiveness but now that I am master I will never let another take him from me. Love is a greedy, selfish, beautiful thing.

Oct. 8th, 2011

(no subject)



“Stay,” Tanim murmurs, a coaxing plea in the darkness as cool fingers graze fevered skin, “you're so sick; you should stay.” But Daren says nothing in response. He longs to stay, thinks maybe for a time he could even be happy here, but the desire to flee overwhelms. He belongs out on those frozen streets, in that shit hole apartment where he can die numb and alone and anonymous like he always knew he would. That dismal fate would be better than the current alternative, right? He doesn't want to die here. He doesn't want to die in the arms of this man who holds him chastely as a brother, though Daren sees the truth of Tanim's affection in the devotion in his eyes, the love so fierce and selfless it breaks his heart. He is afraid of that love, afraid of what it means for him, for Tanim, afraid to test its mettle against the hopelessness of their situation. He would run to spare himself such a trial and Tanim the inevitable grief, but that man could coax wild horses to eat from his palm he is so patient, so gentle, and so though Daren means to leave he finds himself here still, silent in response to the urgent “stay” but pressing into his companion's tight embrace nonetheless. They have no future. Daren will die in the arms of this man who holds him like a brother and yet murmurs against his ear like a lover, he will die here in pain and heartache but not anonymously, not alone, not numb the way he always expected. He should run; it would be easier, it would be better. He should run but instead he only ceases Tanim's begging with a single touch, icy fingers to flesh hot not with sickness like his own but with a life burning more brightly than any he has ever known, than his ever will.

Oct. 6th, 2011

(no subject)



“Couldn't sleep either, I take it?”

Daren turns his gaze from the fire and up to where Tanim leans against the library's door frame. Shadows rim the older man's storm hued eyes despite the characteristic smile spread gently over his lips. Daren nods minimally and gestures to the empty arm chair beside his. “It's been a long night,” he agrees, “and longer yet before the dawn. Will you join me for a drink?” On the small end table between the chairs waits a serving tray set with glass tumblers and an open bottle of bourbon. Daren fills a glass and extends it to Tanim as he sinks into the proffered seat, then refills his own as well. Several moments of silence pass as they nurse the burning liquid, disturbed only by the crackling of fire eaten logs.

“Why haven't you told anyone?” Tanim's voice breaks the silence, the ventured question a murmur over the lip of his glass as he fixes his gaze pointedly into the hearth. Daren raises his own drink, likewise staring into the flames a long moment before replying in a voice smooth as the bourbon on his lips, “I don't know what you're talking about.”

Hesitation. He should drop the subject but, “You're sick,” Tanim counters softly, unable to face the man at his side as he broaches this taboo subject. “And it's getting worse, isn't it. You've lost weight. You barely sleep, you come and go like a ghost... And I've seen the blood, Daren. On your lips. The others haven't noticed but I've seen it, and I've heard the way you cough. I've seen the way you shake when you think no one is watching.” Now he turns his head, seeking the man's eyes but meeting only his sharp profile outlined in fire glow. “Why didn't you tell us?”

Tanim expects anger, accusations of stalking and gross breach of Daren's coveted privacy. Instead the pale young man seems to shiver, a fleeting grimace twitching one corner of his mouth before his gaunt face smooths back to a mask. “It's eating at me,” he replies, a tremor in his voice Tanim has never heard before. He raises a hand, drink clutched forgotten in the other, and rubs at his chest as if trying to ease an old ache. “This darkness. This madness. It's like I'm rotting inside. It hurts.”

“Daren, I can--”

“Don't,” The man silences him with one raised hand. “Don't say you can save me. You can't.”

Tanim shivers in turn at the bitter resignation in his companion's voice. “I wasn't going to say that,” he argues meekly. “I was going to say, I can help you. Just to make it... easier.” He wants to bridge the distance between them, maybe lay his hand on Daren's arm in some paltry gesture of support, but lets only his voice prove his sincerity. “You shouldn't face this alone. Just let me help. I only want to understand that darkness; I'm not arrogant enough to believe I can save you.”

Daren turns at that, tilting his head to fix Tanim with a penetrating gaze. Silent for a long while, he holds Tanim's eyes until the other begins to squirm, feeling very much an insect beneath the stare of an angel. “You're not like your brother and the others, you know,” the younger man finally notes, thoughtful yet blunt. “You're always smiling, always speaking so kindly to everyone, but there's nothing in your eyes but heartache. Why is that? Do they not see that either?”

Leave it to someone so adept at shutting out his own emotions to see through Tanim's mask so easily. Daren has been honest, though, so he honors the gift of trust with his own. “Because I'm only half alive,” he admits with a forced smile, pained and rueful though it may be. “I'm empty. I've always been empty.” He taps his sternum, an echo of Daren's previous gesture. “There's a part of me missing, something integral. I've told Jon but he doesn't understand. It just scares him when I try to explain. He thinks I'm going to hurt myself.”

“Well,” Daren considers the admission with care. “I'm half dead. I suppose we're even.” His mouth turns up in a smirk as haunted and drawn as Tanim's. He raises his glass. “To misery.”

Tanim knocks their tumblers together. “And company. The two go so well together.”

This is a first step, small yet significant. He wants to say more. He wants to press for information. How long has Daren been sick? Does he know what it is, this thing destroying him from the inside out? How has he hidden this terrifying burden for so long, and why? But not yet. Not until Daren truly trusts him. He must be patient; the time will come. For now Tanim is content to sip his drink in silence and gaze into the crackling fire while the man at his side muffles a cough with a silk handkerchief.

Oct. 4th, 2011

(no subject)



We are many things. Uncertain always, wounded by the weight of years and private griefs. Doubtful of ourselves, mistrustful of the world. We are possessive, often, fear fed by unfamiliar jealousy and petty, fabricated slights. Anything can be lost in a moment so we dig our nails in hard enough to draw blood. And sometimes we are cruel, for self-loathing and jealousy and a lifetime of heartache have hardened us. Misery loves company, or at least finds comfort in leaving scars as proof there is neither safety nor surety even in the beloved. We injure sometimes, torment often, hurt always and always hurt each other in turn.

But we are faithful, you say. Faithful? Faithful of a certain sort, perhaps, but not the other. You may love me, but you may still leave me. Do not presume that because I love you in my turn, I trust you. You threaten. In the way you stare but do not see, in the way you speak but never quite the truth, in the way you turn your back you threaten always. Will there ever come a morning I do not wake fearing to find you an absence at my side, a sudden lacking in a life already riddled with unhealed wounds? Will I always feel such sick relief to reach out and touch your warm, slumbering form, only to wonder if this morning is our last together? You threaten always to vanish, and I would cripple you to keep you here. If I had to. If you forced me.

Faithful? We are that, yes. Faithful to cruelty; faithful to selfishness.


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